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Phillip Blond argues that secular liberal values fail to deliver

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The Government's ‘liberal narrative’ must be overcome in order to achieve the ambitious goals of the Big Society, claimed Phillip Blond, who spoke at the Beyond Individualism Conference on 25 Nov, organised by Christian Concern, in association with UK and European partners.

Mr Blond, the acknowledged driving force behind David Cameron’s ‘Big Society’, told delegates, comprised of political, charity and religious leaders, that:

“Liberal individualism has led to a massive concentration of wealth and the disintegration of family relationships and human association: this reduction in 'social capital' has decreased well-being, health, trust and support for the most vulnerable.

“We need to displace this narrative with a larger and far more successful story - a fact that has perhaps not yet been fully grasped by those tasked with implementing the Big Society project. Moral markets, and a return to civic association, require Christian values: mutuality, subsidiarity, reciprocity, solidarity, mediation (both in the theological and institutional sense).”

Mr Blond, Director of ResPublica and Author of ‘Red Tory: How Left and Right Have Broken Britain and How We Can Fix It’, pointed to a number of policy agendas that have failed as a result of side-lining the Christian framework:

  • liberal representational democracy has not given a voice to the many but has lead to the domination by elites;
  • multi-culturalism and belief mediated by state 'neutrality' has eradicated diversity in the name of equality; and
  • in the name of free markets we have created a massive concentration of wealth which has produced not modern liberty but medieval serfdom.

He said: "After the economic crash and the social collapse of the riots now more than ever we need religious and moral voices re-admitted to public policy debate. The contemporary attack on Christianity as one of those voices is perhaps the most disturbing element of the new secular fundamentalism that seeks to police faith and drive belief from its central and proper role."

Other contributors to the conference included Lord Glasman, Professor John Milbank and Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali.

Conference

The event was organised by Christian Concern, the European Christian Political Movement and the Christian Peoples Alliance. UK-based organisations CARE, The Jubilee Centre, The Kirby Laing Institute for Christian Ethics and THEOS were also partners in the event.

The European Christian Political Movement is a growing political association of Christian Democratic parties and organisations. Formed in 2002, the movement received official recognition from the European Parliament in 2010. www.ecpm.info

The Christian Peoples Alliance has been fighting elections in Britain for a decade, after emerging from David Alton’s ecumenical Movement for Christian Democracy. In 2009, the Christian ‘ticket’ won 250,000 votes across Britain for the European Parliament and was described by The Times as “among the key winners” of the smaller parties. www.cpaparty.org.uk

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